All that you need to know about RC cars batteries

There are several different kinds of RC cars batteries that are required to operate a remote controlled vehicle. With each different battery, there comes a host of considerations that need to be considered when choosing battery for your RC Vehicle exactly same when choosing Motorcycle Battery for you bike or finding ATV battery to buy for your ATV. So, you can properly maintain your RC vehicle effectively, without having to worry about spending extra money for misuse. We’re going to break down what we’re going to cover in a few simple categories:

  • Most Common Voltage
  • Different Types of Batteries Available / Used
  • Chargers
  • How To Get The Best Performance From Your RC Car Battery
  • Things To Avoid With Your Batteries
  • Best Batteries For Different Uses

Most Common Voltage

7.4 rc car NiHM Batteries

Most RC cars batteries that typically come with a purchase of a remote controlled vehicle are 7.2 Volt batteries. These batteries contain enough voltage to power the electric motor and the receiver that goes directly to your controller. Each developer has their own way of soldering components together in unique configurations to get the voltage required with sub-c sized batteries.

There are two different configurations that can be made with your common RC car battery, which is either the side by side or stick packs. The different configurations will have minor voltage differences along with different physical dimensions. It is important to understand that while some configurations will create different physical dimensions, they don’t often take up too much space underneath the RC body lid.

Different Types of Batteries Available / Used

LiPo battery

There are three unique types of RC cars batteries that are available and used for different purposes. Just like any other industry, the remote control industry likes to innovate and find ways to have better, longer-lasting performance while saving more money. As a result, there are benefits and negatives to each type of battery that we will list. The three types of batteries that are commonly used for RC cars

1-Lithium Polymer (LiPo)

2-Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)

3-Nickel Cadmium (NiCad).

Lithium Polymer (LiPo)

Advantages

  • Less Expensive
  • Do Not Have Memory Effect
  • Provide Good Power
  • Extremely Lightweight
  • Can Be Charged and Used Several Times throughout A Single Day

Disadvantages

  • Volatile Dangers If Overheated or Damaged
  • Extra Care Must Be Taken With These Batteries
  • Not Recommended For Beginner RC Owners

Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)

Advantages

  • Can Be Used Twice In One Day
  • Provide Good Power

Disadvantages

  • Heaviest of The Three
  • Types of Batteries Has A Long Charge Duration
  • Some Models Require Temperature and Full-Charge Detection Meters
  • Have a Memory Effect

Nickel Cadmium (NiCad)

Advantages

  • Less Expensive
  • Durable Even After Abuse

Disadvantages

  • Some of the Oldest RC Battery Technology Used
  • Lacks Sufficient Power or Capacity
  • Medium Weight
  • Have a Memory Effect

As you can see, each of these batteries has their advantages and disadvantages. But in order to accurately understand the charts presented, we’ve got to cover a few things like the Memory Effect. A Memory Effect simply means that a battery will eventually lose its full charge if it is repeatedly charged without using all of its energy. This means that if you use the battery to its halfway point, and then recharge it to full again, it’ll gradually lose a percentage of the full charge every single time you repeat the action.

Some batteries we listed are also more cost effective, meaning that you can afford to purchase more in the event that something was to happen or a memory effect was beginning to take hold. Other batteries will provide greater power and should be specifically used for a select few purposes like racing. All of these things need to be considered when you are potentially purchasing another RC car battery or looking to see which battery will work with the one you own or are going to purchase in the future.

Chargers

Battery Chargers

Chargers are essential when using RC cars batteries. Some batteries are as simple as a plug and play, and they’ll charge with no problem. Other batteries we mentioned have stipulations that could be damaging if you don’t monitor them very closely. There are two types of chargers, Timer-Based Chargers, and Full Charge / Peak Detection Chargers. Timer-Based chargers require that a timer is set for the duration of the charge, and will only stop charging when the timer runs out.

This means that with these chargers, there is the potential to overcharge and damage the battery extensively. Looking back at our chart of advantages and disadvantages of LiPo batteries, extreme damage can occur to this type of battery with overcharges or charges that could cause heating issues – which is why these batteries are not recommended for beginners.

The second type of charger we mentioned, Full Charge Detection Chargers, will detect when a battery reaches its full charge and automatically stop charging. This means that while the battery is fully charged, an indicator light will be set so that the owner knows when the battery is fully charged and can begin using it without additional power going to the battery to charge it. These chargers prevent overheating issues and don’t have to be so closely monitored.

It is important to note that not all Full Charge Detection Chargers can be cross paired with the opposite battery. For instance, if you purchase a NiCad detection battery charger, it doesn’t mean that it should or can be paired with a NiMH battery. Additional damage can occur from swapping chargers to the wrong battery. It is best to stay with the proper pairing when it comes to batteries and their individual style chargers.

How To Get The Best Performance Out Of Your RC Car Battery

There are a few simple steps that can be taken to make sure that you get the most out of your RC car batteries, no matter the type. The steps are outlined below, with additional instructions for each one.

  • Use The Entire Battery Before Recharging 
    It is important to use the entire battery before recharging. Even if your particular battery type does not have a memory effect, it is a good idea to get the full use of a battery so that you save the amount of trips you have to make to the charger.
  • ​Use A Full Charge / Peak Detection Charger
    These chargers are much safer and require less oversight. In addition, they won’t continue to draw power with could be extremely dangerous depending upon the battery used.
  • Use a Consistent Charging Port
    Use the same charging port so that the battery charger will have a steady draw without getting interrupted or cause overload issues.
  • Adhere to Usage Guidelines
    Some batteries, as mentioned in our chart, have strict usage patterns. This means that you shouldn’t use certain battery types more often than the recommended frequency and temperature guidelines.

Things To Avoid With All Battery Types

There are some glaring no-no’s when it comes to RC car batteries. Below is a list that you should avoid at all cost.

  • Overcharging Your Batteries
  • Overheating Your Battery
  • Shorting the Battery – Touching the Positive End of the battery with the Negative End
  • Improper Disposal

Best Batteries For Different Uses

There are a few RC car battery types that should be specifically used for certain activities like racing. If you are an experienced RC vehicle driver, than LiPo batteries will offer the power you seek. However, if you’re a casual RC hobbyist and don’t want the extra cost or hassle that come with LiPo batteries that we mentioned, both NiMH and NiCad batteries are best suited for you.

Now that you understand RC cars batteries, you can make a more informed purchase decision to make sure that you are selecting the best battery for your RC car and experience level.

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